Investigation on seasonal influenza vaccination among children with high-risk medical conditions who live in the area of Local Health Agency 4 ?Chiavarese?


Introduction. The Italian Ministry of Health recommends influenza vaccination in patients with chronic diseases associated with an increased risk of influenza complications. We estimated the number of patients aged from 6 months to 14 years with chronic diseases living in the area of Local Health Agency 4 ?Chiavarese?. Materials and methods. In order to estimate the number of children with chronic diseases, we evaluated data from three sources: the Health Charge Exemption Records Office; the ?Nocchiero Project?, implemented by the Regional Health Agency in 2009, and independent pediatricians. Results. The pediatric population in the district of Local Health Agency 4 ?Chiavarese? consists of 16,118 subjects. The percentage of children with high-risk medical conditions is 4.14% of the pediatric population according to records of health-charge exemption, 6.36% according to the ?Nocchiero Project? data and 3.38% according to the data provided by pediatricians. In the 2010-2011 influenza vaccination campaign, 415 children were vaccinated at Local Health Agency 4 ?Chiavarese?; 335 of these had chronic diseases. Vaccination coverage was estimated as 50.07% on the basis of the list of patients exempt from health care charges, as 65.68% by the independent pediatricians and as 31.45% according to the ?Nocchiero Project? data. Discussion. Our investigation underlines the difficulty of dividing subjects into different risk categories. The data provided by independent pediatricians yielded higher estimates of vaccination coverage in pediatric patients than the data from the other two sources. Conclusions. Estimates of vaccination coverage vary according to the source of data. However, pediatricians seem to be the most reliable source, as they know their patients better. Collaboration between health authorities and independent pediatricians should therefore be improved in order to obtain the best results in terms of influenza prevention in high-risk groups.